Former Singapore diplomat fined for taking nude photos of male customers in Tokyo bathhouse


Sim Siong Chye, 55, was a counsellor at the Singapore Embassy in Japan when he committed the offences. - INSTAGRAM, SINGAPORE EMBASSY TOKYO/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE: A former diplomat who secretly filmed a boy at a public bath in Tokyo, among other acts of voyeurism, was fined 300,000 yen (S$2,600) on June 13, reported the Japanese media.

Sim Siong Chye, 55, was a counsellor – a diplomatic rank for experienced foreign service officers – at the Singapore Embassy in Japan when he committed the offences.

He had returned to Japan on June 9 to be questioned by the Japanese authorities, reported the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, and was quoted as saying that he had done so out of remorse and of his own will.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department had made a request in May to the Singapore embassy through Japan’s Foreign Ministry to get Sim to go back to the country.

Japanese police were unable to detain him when he was caught on Feb 27, as he then had immunity from prosecution because he was a diplomat.

In mid-April, he returned to Singapore after completing his tour of duty. The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on May 2 that it was prepared to waive his diplomatic immunity to facilitate investigations by the Japanese authorities.

Sim was also suspended from duty to assist in investigations.

On Feb 27, Sim was caught using a smartphone to film an undressed male teenager in the men’s changing room of a public bath in Tokyo’s Minato ward, where the Singapore embassy is located.

A search of his phone found footage of the boy in the nude, as well as footage of multiple male customers that seemed to have been taken in the bath’s communal changing room.

Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported that the male teenager was a junior high school student aged 13.

Sim had admitted to investigators then that he also took such photos at other public baths.

When he was caught, at least 700 images taken over a six-month period were found, with Sim deleting the images on the spot.

In response to queries, MFA said earlier on June 13 that Sim did not have diplomatic immunity any longer, as his posting as a counsellor had ended.

The ministry added that he chose to return to Japan to cooperate with the investigations, as requested by the Japanese authorities.

“The Singapore Embassy in Tokyo has engaged with the Japanese authorities to facilitate the ongoing investigations,” it had said.

A career diplomat, Sim is also a published author. He wrote a book about his travels across several countries between 1995 and 2004.

He joined MFA in 1993, according to a 2011 publication by the Public Service Division. - The Straits Times/ANN

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